Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Questioning The Law?

What is the Law? What is the purpose of the Law? Why was the Law given? What does the Law have to do with Grace? These are some of the questions I find myself asking today as I read His word. Do we, as Christians still try to keep the law? Is there a difference between the Ten Commandments (God’s Law) and the Laws given to Moses for the Israelite's (Leviticus)? Yes, I believe there is a big difference, and we as believers are getting caught up in trying to keep a law that was never designed for us to keep.
 “But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate…and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust.”  1 Timothy 1:8-11 (please take some time to read the whole passage, I only included the areas that the Lord magnified for me, personally)
We know that the Law was given to the Israelite's to keep them on the straight and narrow; we know that God gave them His Law (The Ten Commandments) and then God gave Moses the Laws for the whole country of Israel to keep. When Jesus chastened the Pharisees and the religious leaders of His day, He chastened them for taking the Law of Moses and making it a stumbling block, a burden on the people. Now, I am no scholar of the Law of Moses, or the purposes, reasons, let alone the details of it, but one thing I have learned over the many years of study and many years of teaching is that we are not supposed to be living our lives according to the Law of Moses, we are to live our lives according to the Laws of God.
Paul tells us in Galatians 3:24 that the law has one purpose and that is to show us our need for a Savior and to drive us to Jesus Christ. (Jon Courson) The Law was not given for the righteous man, but for the lawless. If you are a believer, if you believe that Jesus Christ has saved you from your sins, then why are you trying to keep a law that is unable to be kept? I see it more and more in the Christians that I meet and talk with. They love Jesus, they believe that He has saved them; they believe that He is God, yet they try to keep in line with all the Old Testament Mosaic Laws that were not given to us (gentiles) but were given to the people of Israel until the Messiah could come.
One commentary I read explained these verses as, “false teachers whose doctrine was a mixture of Christian teaching, regulations from the Mosaic Law of Judaism, and pagan Gnostic speculations, had come to Ephesus bring discord rather than growth in grace.” This commentary sums up what is being taught today, nothing has really changed, the same false teachers and doctrines are still going around today. There is so much “don’t do this and don’t do that” being taught through churches today that the people are perishing because there is no Grace. Grace is what Jesus brought to those of us who will never be able to keep every single letter of the Law of God, including the Jews to whom the Mosaic Law was given. A very dear Pastor of mine taught me this principle to apply to my life every time the subject of the Mosaic Law came up- “If Jesus taught it, then it must be kept. “
When someone comes up to me and starts telling me “laws” that they keep, that they believe are true and should be adhered to by every Christian, the warning bells go off in my head and I have to go and search the teaching of Jesus to see if He taught that, if He didn’t then I toss aside what was spoken and move on. I see so many people struggling everyday in their walks. They are striving so hard to do everything right, everything perfect, and everything according to a law that they have placed on themselves, or that they have read in some “Christian” book- when all we have to do is this: “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.”
The keeping of the law will lead you into bondage, it will lead you into living a life of judgmental behaviors, pride and worst of all, it will lead you far, far away from Jesus Christ and the Grace He freely offers. Romans 8:1 “There is therefore, now, no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” Paul goes on to tell us, to free us from the trappings of the law in verses 2-5 (I encourage you to read and study this on your own time)
Paul warns against the keeping of the law, verses the walking in the Spirit throughout most of his epistles, why? Because he knew how easily it is to get ensnared into trying to always be the perfect Christian, the perfect person, the perfect everything. He knew because he lived his first life as a law-abiding, law teaching, law commander. Let us not make the same mistake. And besides, are we not taught in God’s word that if we try to keep the whole law, and we stumble once then we are guilty of them all? (James 2:10) So why are we trying to be who we were never meant to be? Why are we trying to live our lives under a law that Jesus already fulfilled and not allowing the law of Grace rule our hearts and our lives?
If you are struggling in your walk, if you are struggling with God, perhaps you are living under a law that God never asked you to. Perhaps you are trying to fulfill the law that Jesus already finished, that He already died to complete. I know this, that no matter what I do if I seek to please God through the keeping of the Law then I will fail. For God does not ask us to keep the law to please Him, He asks us to have faith in Jesus Christ, who has already accomplished what was required. When we let go of trying to “do” and get back to the basics of why we “do” then life will become a lot less strenuous. We are to walk with the Lord our God, surrendering every part of our lives, our beings, our thoughts, our time, everything. If we are “keeping the law” then we are not fully surrendered.  
“For by grace you have been saved, through faith, and not of works lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8  
(This is merely an opinion based upon study, teachings and my own personal experiences. I encourage every person that reads this blog to do as the Bereans did, “These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.” Acts 17:11.)